Let’s face it; DeKalb County is just plain corrupt. It all started or at least it started surfacing with Vernon Jones. When Vernon took office, he left a job as a telecommunications manager making about 38 thousand dollars a year and living in a condominium valued at 54 thousand dollars.
Not long after his election, he was involved in a very controversial land deal in Lithonia. He bought 54 acres of prime real estate adjoining land set aside for green space. He paid $550,000.00 for the land. Vernon said the land, which was a farm, reminded him of his youth and the land was his paradise, promising to never sale.
In four (4) short years, Vernon sold the land to a church with no assets for $770,000.00. In just one year later, the church turned around and sold the land to another church for $917,000.00. The land Vernon said he would never sale is now on the market for over 2 million dollars, being advertised as a great place for development.
Then comes in Vernon’s security detail that included a sergeant making over one hundred thousand dollars a year with overtime. The sergeant probably violated federal and state laws by running vehicle tag numbers related to his domestic problems. Another person, then a lieutenant, was caught running tag numbers. There was a Grand Jury investigation. Eventually Chief Eddie Moody was forced to resign for refusing to lie during the Grand Jury hearing. Others were only transferred and some promoted.
Louis Graham was brought in as Chief of Police by Vernon. Graham’s first item on his agenda was to use the power of the police department for his own personal use. He created a task force to prove the innocence of convicted serial child killer; Wayne Williams. After untold thousand of man hours and dollars, Wayne Williams is still a convicted serial child killer.
Derwin Brown, a police captain defeats Sidney Dorsey for Sheriff of DeKalb County in a fair and legal election. Sidney Dorsey adds Third World politics to it the mix and has Sheriff elect Brown gunned down in his driveway. Dorsey is convicted of murder and admits his role.
Louis Graham’s Assistant Chief of Police, Ray Flemister is heard on audio tape deliberately holding back white officers from being promoted simply based on their skin color. Both Graham and Flemister are forced to resign and the county settles civil lawsuits out of court.
Vernon Jones convenes a team for a nationwide search for a Police Chief. Vernon ignores the recommendations and hires Terrell Bolton who was fired as Chief of Police of Dallas Texas. Bolton arrives on the scene, spends millions of dollars on unneeded recreational vehicles, forces into retirement or demotes the command staff, brings in his friends and friends of friends as a regime.
During Bolton’s short time as chief, Recorders Court is rocked by a scandal where 90 to 120 million dollars are unaccounted for. That’s right, 90 to 120 million dollars! Clerks in the court are caught taking bribes for dismissing traffic violations. The manager of the court was moved to Bolton’s office. No one is held accountable with an investigation that was in name only. The Chief Recorders Court judge was appointed by Vernon.
The Tax Commissioners Office apparently made deals with developers who then made deals with property buyers, who would not have to pay property taxes for years. This has cost the county and cities within the county hundreds of thousands of dollars. Again, no one is held accountable nor is there a known criminal investigation.
Three people who work for Sheriff Tom Brown were indicted for stealing $350,000.00 related to civil court proceeds.
Personnel within the State Court and probation department are arrested for taking bribes to have cases dismissed or as reported, having murderers placed on probation. The FBI is called in, but how far will this investigation go?
Everyday, every minute, DeKalb County police officers place their lives on the line to enforce the laws of the county and state. While enforcing theses laws, officers die in the line of duty, most recently Stepnowski, Barker and Bryant. The officers are rewarded by seeing their felony cases dismissed by the accused being the highest bidder. All those dangerous traffic stops are made in vein, with money handed under the table. We see the favoritism given others, and the advancement of the corrupt.
Vernon Jones and Terrell Bolton placed key people in place who are either or have become corrupted, either monetarily or morally. To this day, these same people are in place.
It is with high hopes and anticipation Burrell Ellis will be the person to make a difference. Mr. Ellis should take his time to clean out the police department, because it is the most important. People’s life’s and safety are at stake. But don’t take too much time.
The investigation into the Recorders Court is just as important. The amount of money missing is just incomprehensible.
If Burrell Ellis fails to bring this county under control, then all hope just may be lost.